Photographer's Note

Pictured here is a Chinese vendor in Tiretti Bazaar located at Sun Yat Sen Street in the central part of Kolkata (Calcutta), which at one point of time was home to about 20000 Chinese Indian nationals. Every morning around 5:30 a.m., the narrow street comes alive with a number of stalls selling traditional Chinese food items like chicken and pork Momos, Sausages, Soup, Noodles, Dumplings, Shu mei, Buns and the like which have been collectively given the name ‘Chinese Breakfast’ by the people of Kolkata. The stalls fold up by 8 a.m. after which the traffic starts to increase. During my visit, I found Chinese men and women of various ages buying and selling a variety of items who were quite comfortable while mixing and interacting with the local (Indian) population some of whom were there to savour the delicacies while a few others had makeshift shops of their own.

The Chinese history of Kolkata is more than 200 years old with the first migrations having taken place in the 1770s. The first recorded Chinese settler near Calcutta was Tong Achew who set up a sugarcane plantation and a sugar factory near Budge-Budge located about 30 km from the city. After his premature death, all his Chinese employees settled at Tiretti bazaar, in the central part and Tangra, in the eastern part of the city which went on to become the old and the new Chinatown of Calcutta. The early Chinese settlers worked hard and prospered as entrepreneurs operating restaurants, beauty salons, tanneries, carpentry shops and so on and a large number also found work at the Calcutta port on the river Hooghly. The Chinese community of Kolkata was at one point of time, more than 20000 strong. The present population, however, has shrunk to about 2000 the reasons for which are many.

I have added two more pictures in the WORKSHOP section, one showing the items on offer and the second showing how crowded the area gets at 6 in the morning.

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Additional Photos by Satya Ghosal (photographer_sg) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 394 W: 2 N: 994] (6059)
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